Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (born June 27, 1964), popularly known as P. T. Usha, is an Indian athlete from the state of Kerala. P. T. Usha has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. She is regarded as one of the greatest athletes India has ever produced and is often called the "queen of Indian track and field". She is nicknamed the Payyoli Express. Currently she runs the Usha School of Athletics at Koyilandy in Kerala.
P. T. Usha was born in the village of Payyoli, Kozhikode District, Kerala. In 1976 the Kerala State Government started a Sports School for women, and Usha was chosen to represent her district.
In 1979 P. T. Usha participated in the National School Games, where she was noticed by O. M. Nambiar, who coached her throughout her career. Her debut in the 1980 Moscow Olympics proved lacklustre. In the 1982 New Delhi Asiad, she got the silver medal in the 100m and the 200m, but at the Asian Track and Field Championship in Kuwait a year later, Usha took the gold in the 400m with a new Asian record . From 1983-89, Usha garnered 13 golds at ATF meets.
At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she finished first in the semi-finals of the 400 metres hurdles, but faltered in the finals, reminiscent of Milkha Singh's 1960 defeat. There was a nail-biting photo finish for the third place. Usha lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second. She became the first Indian woman (and the fifth Indian) to reach the final of an Olympic event by winning her 400m hurdles semi-final.
In the 10th Asian Games held at Seoul in 1986, P. T. Usha won 4 gold medals and 1 silver medal in the track and field events. Here she created new Asian Games records in all the events in which she participated. She won five golds at the 6th Asian Track and Field Championship at Jakarta in 1985. Her six medals at the same meet is a record for a single athlete in a single international meet.
Usha has won 101...